My parents were 9 and 5 on VJ day – nowhere near child-bearing age – so I’m not a baby boomer. Culturally, I share none of their references; my only memory of the Beatles was hearing they’d broken up. I didn’t hear a thing about Woodstock until I was probably in fifth or sixth grade (heck, I was in sixth grade before I had a radio that could bring in any kind of even mainstream rock).
So I’m no baby boomer. Of course, I doubt I’m an X-er. Call me part of the “Generation that nobody cared enough to give a name to”, for all I care.
Anyway – in my earlier years, I suppose I bagged on the Boom generation as readily as any Xer or Millennial does today – especially as I , as I became a conservative, started associating the boomers with the Hippie generation. It was a mythology pushed by everyone from Jerry Rubin to the TV show Family Ties.
And as Paul Mirengoff at Power Line notes, it just wasn’t true. The tale was in the (voting machine) tape:
[R]adical leftism did not define “a generation” — at least not the generation of Woodstock. In the first presidential election after the festival, about half the members of that generation voted for Richard Nixon. As the Woodstock generation came into its own, it elected Ronald Reagan twice by landslides, and Reagan’s successor by a comfortable margin.
This was followed by two terms of a center-left president and two terms of a center-right one. Not until 2008, 39 years after Woodstock when that generation was on the wane, did America elect a president as far left as the one who had departed the year of the festival.
If I recall correctly, there was at least one reference to Reagan on the Woodstock stage. He was referred to as Ronald Ray-gun (maybe during Joan Baez’s segment). The Gipper also appears in the PBS retrospective. He is seen denouncing radicals during his time as governor.
So it’s ironic, I guess, that Ronald Reagan, not Woodstock, is the political legacy of the Woodstock generation.
And with that, I salute ’em.